Integrated philanthropy produces maximum impact
Growing up in a well-to-do Upper Valley community, Karin Chamberlain heard a lot about Those Towns.
Those Towns didn’t have good schools. Those Towns were where people who had few choices lived in “trailer parks.” People in Our Town who wanted to help them did so from a comfortable distance, by giving to local charities.
Four years in the Peace Corps changed Karin’s views of disadvantaged groups and what they really need.
She began seeing them as equally capable as people from wealthier communities but lacking the resources to achieve their goals. “People don’t need me to give them a handout, but a hand up,” she says.
That realization opened a career path. As an impact investing specialist for a wealth management company,
Karin connects like-minded investors with organizations, like the Community Loan Fund, that provide that hand up.
In her first week on the job there, she was told she should get to know our innovative work. And the more she learned, the more deeply she appreciated it, especially resident-owned manufactured-home communities (ROCs).
“There are hard-working people. These are great homes. These are homeowners who have pride in their homes,” she says. “The Community Loan Fund really shifted my view of what these communities are, and what they can achieve, and what they mean for the fabric of society. I appreciate that.”
Karin believes an “integrated capital” approach—donating to and investing in the same organizations—attaches the maximum impact to investment dollars. Since investments here flow into the community as loans, and donations pay for the education and training our borrowers receive, she sees gifts as helping to ensure the success of people who obtain loans.
She also is privately involved with The Elizabeth Parkhill Charitable Trust, which supports our child care work. Betty Parkhill was a neighbor of Karin’s and her preschool teacher.
“We could have given a grant to an individual child care center, but I feel the impact is much greater with the Community Loan Fund,” says Karin. “It’s the loans, it’s the business assistance, it’s the policy, it’s all the other advocacy and support that you bring.”
This article was published in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s 2021 annual report.